A Travellerspoint blog

Nearly at an end

sunny 32 °C
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All good things must come to an end and here we are with one day left.

We have felt the heat, the humidity, the sounds the smells of Singapore. It is truly a city for the 21st Century - it seems never to sleep, but maybe because of the unrelenting heat and humidity the people can't sleep. The most bizarre experience is condensation on the outside of your window in the morning - as the damp hot air hits the relative coolness of your window pane.

Yesterday we spent orienting ourselves and seeing the tourist sights from a city hop on/off bus. We "did" Chinatown in the afternoon and the Malaysian quarter in the evening. We also had a river ride in the evening which was refreshing and a blast to the senses with all the colours of the riverside bars and the noise - not to mention the screams coming from the reverse bungy jumps. You are pulled down under tension and the elastic band is release sending a car load of people up into the sky and spinning around. As you can imagine I was not tempted in the least to queue up for the privilege of being scared witless.

Today we have been to the Botanic Gardens which are just wonderful - the national collection of orchids is stunning. Later we went down the Orchard Road to see the shopping - as you can imagine Tony thought it was boring and all I had for my efforts was damp clothes and an aching back.

Last day tomorrow and it's off to Raffles and spending time by the pool here. The hotel is great - we have afternoon tea, evening canapes and cocktails (yes they do Singapore Slings) all for free, in fact we've not needed to eat out although we did treat ourselves to some Chinese noodle dishes and a malaysian chicken soup of some kind.

See you all soon

Posted by gilberts 01:06 Archived in Singapore Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

Back in civilisation - hot showers, internet connection!!

sunny 29 °C
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Arrived in Singapore last night after a 14 hour day of journeying - staying at the Intercontinental Hotel which is sheer luxury and excess. In our room there is even a menu for pillows - more than ten types of pillows you can have on the bed, not to mention quilts and mattress toppers. Well done Peter - the booking went really smoothly.

At last also an internet connection that works adequately so some photo downloaded showing our time on Kiribati main island, on Kuria and the few days we had on North Island New Zealand.

We had one day's rain in NZ otherwise it was hot and sunny. We spend a bizarre night in a bed and breakfast, in Rotorua, with a strange owner - but in fairness he pointed us to loads of interesting geological areas all for free. The house we stayed in was heated from the waters 80 metres down, the hot water system was run from it and there was a small pool which we could hardly get in - running at 42 degrees C after all the other heat had been taken from it.

Tony swam in what is known as Kerosene Creek - it really did smell of petrol and it was hot - the access was a bit tricky for my knees so I was an onlooker, but the next Creek (Soda Water Creek) was accessible and we spent some time soaking in the wonderfully warm water - just us and another chap. All off the beaten track so better for not being commercialised.

Singapore last night had a cracking storm and as we are on the 15th Floor we have a great view over the city and saw the storm up close. Now it's off to the pool before Afternoon Tea.

Tomorrow we're doing the tourist bit and taking some time to see the sights - hopefully a Singapore Sling at Raffles if the finances hold up.

Posted by gilberts 23:25 Archived in Singapore Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

Back in the land of the living - only just!

sunny 30 °C
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We arrived back in Fiji this afternoon - again having problems with downloading photos but will persist perhaps this evening.

We had an uneventful journey to Fiji and then the fun began. We arrived in Tarawa at Bonriki International Airport - basically two sheds stuck together. The noise and atmosphere was quite overwhelming with so many people waiting to greet relatives and also seeing relatives off on the flight that would turn round there.

The place looks like paradise - turquoise seas and beaches with coral reefs around. It's not until you look a little closer you see that paradise is not what you might imagine. The water is the temperature of warm tea and used generally as the main outlet for all the waste you can imagine (and some you can't). Therefore I decided it was an e-coli soup and would not swim in it! This island itself is a long thin back to front L shape and is travelled in buses which are minibuses which in the UK would have gone to the car park in the sky long ago - some photos will follow. They are however a vital part of the island life and are the only way to travel - a real experience.

We had a wonderful "hotel" on one side of the lagoo - it has to be said the water was a million times cleaner but still suspect. We had a room on stilts out over the lagoon and it was beautifully cool in the evening for sleeping. Otherwise the heat is overpowering and never changing. The food was good but we soon realised you needed to enjoy breadfruit ( a kind of stodgy pumpkin stuff with little taste), fish and coconut. Fine by us but I swear when I get back to NZ tomorrow I'm going to have a cheeseburger even though I NEVER eat them under normal circumstances.

After a couple of days we flew to the outer island of Kuria in a small plane (again you need to see the photos!) The journey took around 30 minutes and we were met by a reception committee of the Town Clerk and the Mayor. Apparently we are the only white tourists they have ever had there. We stayed in the Council room and a group of Council ladies (Mothers Union I guess) fed us while we were there - again fish, breadfruit and coconut although with papaya also. The mayor took us for a tour of the island where we left the normal gifts at the shrines namely tobacco and money.

The people there were wonderfully friendly and welcoming. We went to the Secondary School which is for children from 11 to 14 approximately and they all learn english. Watch out all you teachers and Sunday School leaders I've about 30 children looking for a pen friend!! I spoke with them about life for children in England, what our homes are like and how we have different temperatures during the year. It was a good time.

We were due to leave the island on Tuesday - but it was not to be. The aeroplane due to pick us up was broken so that was that. Fortunately the agent on the main island who had booked it for us was able to get another company to divert their plane the next day. Otherwise we would have missed our flight today, our connection tomorrow and possibly our connection to Singapore next week - a bit worrying for a time - but the people looked after us and made sure we were OK.

The community on Kuria is one of sharing - they really have nothing other than fish, breadfruit, papya and coconut. They have a fish co-operative and also a copra co-operative but no form of income. The have wonderful system of working together for the common good. Every day the men must work for one hour on a project to assist someone. There are some photos of them clearing an overgrown piece of coconut plantation for a woman.

Tony is currently lying by the pool - our first bit of luxury since leaving the UK - so he might want to add something more later.

Off to NZ tomorrow will be back to you soon.

Posted by gilberts 21:39 Archived in Kiribati Tagged air_travel Comments (1)

Bungy Jumping

sunny

I remembered in the night that I hadn't mentioned bungy jumping and the idiots that do it.

We went to the original bungy jump sight and warched them queuing up to jump - brave or foolish who knows.

The oldest person to have done is was 94 - so Nanny what's stopping you?

Posted by gilberts 14:26 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (4)

What a place

sunny 20 °C
View Our Big Trip map on gilberts's travel map.

We both think NZ is brilliant - we've had so many experiences in just a few days is't amazing. We've had city, sand, sean, mountain, wild life up close and personal.

The people are lovely so friendly and ready to engage in conversation. We are just starting to understand the language
Alrighteeee - certainly madam that would be no problem
The bitch is over there - take that path to the beach
are you hippy - is everything OK
I thought the other day - is a hippy a happy Kiwi? Is that where hippy came from? Your answers on a postcard

We've had a number of firsts

The most southerly point on mainland NZ - next stop antartica
The second most southerly city in the world
The sausage capital of NZ which is also the wood capital of NZ !?!
The deer centre of NZ - didn't realise how many deer there are farmed here
Being on the beach the only people as far as the eye could see with two baby seals playing together - awesome
The most rare penguins in the world coming home in the evening (all four of them)
Nearly running out of fuel - the tank took 47.5 litres to fill and its a 50 litre tank - in the middle of nowhere and much praying and sweating there was a petrol station

One for Werner and Agnes a cable car made in Austria and the cars were just like Gaschurn

Thanks for your comments - please keep in touch\
Much love

Again no photos - the campsites don't seem to make it easy for them to be uploaded.

Posted by gilberts 23:44 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

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